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"First, I'd put some windows in the school": A critical race ethnography of the Illinois College and Career Readiness Pilot Program

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Title: "First, I'd put some windows in the school": A critical race ethnography of the Illinois College and Career Readiness Pilot Program
Author(s): Castro, Erin
Director of Research: Mayo, Cris
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Mayo, Cris
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Bragg, Deb; Hytten, Kathy; Pillow, Wanda; Parker, Larry
Department / Program: Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline: Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): College and career readiness policy Critical Race Theory Critical ethnography
Abstract: In 2007, the Illinois General Assembly passed The Illinois College and Career Readiness (CCR) Pilot Program (Public Act 095-0694) in an attempt to reduce statewide remediation at the community college level and address the misalignment between high school graduation expectations and the requirements to be successful in college and career. In this dissertation I investigate the relationship between one pilot site, Shawnee Community College, and one of its chronically underserved partner high schools, Cairo Junior and Senior High School (CJSHS). Using critical race ethnography (Duncan, 2005; Vaught, 2011) and methodology influenced by feminist epistemology (Harding, 1987; St. Pierre & Pillow, 1999) I seek to understand how students, faculty, and staff experience life at CJSHS. The objectives of this study are to examine how the community of CJSHS understands programming intent on assisting students in preparation for postsecondary education and documenting the extent to which the program is grounded in the lived realities of the community. Using Critical Race Theory, I show how the rationale that “students lack motivation” is rooted in cultural deficit ideology (Ryan, 1976; Solórzano & Yosso, 2002; Valencia, 1997) and argue that policymakers need to understand the racialized contexts into which policies intervene. Using extensive observations, individual and focus group interviews, as well as historical and legal documents from local, state, federal, philanthropic, and Civil Rights agencies, I document the ways in which, while not explicit in the policy itself, the Illinois CCR Pilot Program became racialized in its reception at CJSHS. I document how structural racism, tacit intentionality (Gillborn, 2005), institutional barriers, and a racist history contributed to how the community at CJSHS came to view education policies, and education buildings, with suspicion. I argue that the Program was not grounded in reality of CJSHS and students were ultimately harmed by the intervention effort because it did not account for their experiences, their current realities, nor their past. The weight of students’ experiences, therefore, demands a more energetic, purposeful, engaged, and reality-based policy, good intention notwithstanding.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34540
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Erin L. Castro
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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